Lee County Commissioners discuss natural gas pipeline proposal - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Lee County Commissioners discuss natural gas pipeline proposal

(WTVM) -

Lee County Commissioners met Tuesday evening with a representative from Sabal Trail Transmission Company about the possibility of a natural gas pipeline that would run through parts of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. 

This pipeline plan is a response to a proposal from Florida Power and Light Company for their natural gas needs required by 2017. The path of the pipeline would run 18 miles through Lee County, Ala. 

"This pipeline will run from Tallapoosa County, Alabama down to central Florida," says Logan Gray of Southern Strategy Group. "55 miles of the pipeline is in Alabama."   

"This is a privately financed program, and this will increase the infrastructure and should be a benefit to everyone down the line," says Gray. "As a matter of fact, if you've got a major pipeline much closer, it should be a benefit to industrial developers."

Lee County Commissioner Robert Ham expressed that his concern is the safety of the citizens there, and the impact it's going to have on them. 

The 2010 natural gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, California, which left eight people dead, is an example of why the idea of this project  is unsettling to some.

Gray assures that safety is Sabal Trail's number one priority.

"Safety is a key part to this business," Gray says. "The losses by anyone getting hurt are huge financial losses, so safety is always on their mind."

Even with safety concerns, officials understand the potential benefits of the pipeline, and will not require any public funding.

"It will have a positive impact and I think the most important thing is that number right now involves no capital outlay for Lee County, but we will benefit from the revenue," Ham says.

4,000 property owners along path of the proposed Florida, Georgia, Alabama pipeline will receive letters about the project next week.

Sabal Trails will find out if they have been awarded the bid in July.

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